Meet Kaelyn Audette,
Big Y Food Safety Trainer/Auditor
That’s what Kaelyn’s dad says all the time and something she took to heart to live by every day. She’s one of our Food Safety Experts, and she’s here to ensure that our stores have the best quality standards, complying with federal, state and local health regulations.
Tell us about how your career began and what led you to where you are today.
I started off working as a cashier and worked my way up to head cashier at the Meriden Big Y in 2011. While working for Big Y, I went to school for Public Health at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). After I graduated, I volunteered for local non-profits and worked at a health department in Connecticut. Shortly after that, I applied for the Food Safety Trainer position and now I am happily here.
How long have you worked for Big Y?
I have worked for Big Y for 10 years.
What motivated you to become a Food Safety Trainer/Auditor?
I discovered public health while attending SCSU and loved that public health was prevention-oriented. I have always had a passion for food safety and teaching others how and why we do things. My favorite part of my job is when I see employees have that “light bulb” moment and that they understand why that policy or procedure is in place.
What is it like to be a Food Safety Trainer/Auditor?
I love my job. I enjoy interacting with management, employees and the support center staff. Every day is different, and to me, that is what makes my job so exciting! On a typical day, I will spend my entire day conducting an audit at one store. On other days, I will spend my time in the office revising policies and logs or working on special projects such as our new eCommerce division, myPicks.
What are the key qualities needed to become a good Food Safety Trainer/Auditor?
I think the key qualities would be a passion for food safety, approachability as an auditor, and mutual respect for the employees you audit and train.
What would be your number one piece of advice to someone who wants to get into this type of job?
My biggest advice would be to continue to gain education, experience, and network in the public health field. Food safety is always changing as we continue to research and learn new ways of doing things.
Tell us about the quality and safety standards of Big Y food in general.
Here at Big Y, we all take pride in our very high food safety standards. As a food safety trainer, it is my responsibility to ensure our stores comply with federal, state and local health regulations.
What are 2-3 tips on how shoppers can safely handle and store food at home?
Our customers need to understand the importance of food safety by following these guidelines by the CDC; Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.
Clean: Wash your hands and surfaces thoroughly.
Separate: Avoid cross-contamination.
Cook: Use a thermometer and ensure foods are cooked to the proper internal cooking temperature.
Chill: Chill foods promptly and avoid the food safety danger zone (41-135F).
Do you have a personal code, policy, or mantra you live by?
A code that I live by is something that my dad always tells “Be the best that you can be”. Over the years, this has really stuck with me as I always try to take every day with a smile and simply put my best foot forward and be the best that I can be.